Yesterday was the beginning of March. After a busy February, it came up quickly! (as I think that most March’s do). I can’t say that it came in like a lion or a lamb…simply that it was good to have fur on either way!

March 1, 2006 was a Wednesday…key for us because until the last 2 years of Junior High, there is no school on Wednesdays for our Collège-Daniel-schooled kids….AND…it snowed a bunch Tuesday night! ;c)

We woke up to this:No, it's not Narnia...just the grounds around the Bucheneck Museum in Soultz!

So I took an early morning walk in the nearby vineyards and snapped tons of “snow shots“.A path in the woods to our nearby vineyards in Soultz

Later in the day, Angela had a brilliant idea…that normally would have set my sedentary, couch-potato-glued-to-the-computer perspective of life to screaming in resistance: “Why don’t you take Noah sledding for an hour?” I was comfortably installed in front of my screen and keyboard, and I was being quite productive…but…the idea didn’t mess me up too much this time…perhaps because my early morning walk in the snow primed me for more adventure…who knows!

The sledding hill is about a 1/2 hour drive heading into the Vosges mountains (I use the term loosely for our friends from the Rockies…but they are more than just hills too!). I’d never been there before and we only had the name of some obscure town to go on: “Dauvillers” (which when you know French spelling and pronunciation could be spelled about a dozed different ways!) Our car has run out of oil twice in climbing up steep hills, but Angela found the place on the map for me and it looked to be just before the beginning of steep switch-backs. Still I wondered if I’d be pouring oil into our engine half-way up!

So, we got out our one saucer-sled and quickly dug out boots, snow-pants, and goggles and off we went. About two kilometers before Dauvillers, there is a sign that says that road salting ends here and chains are obligatory now and there were a few people off the side of the road being good citizens and putting on their tire-chains.

We don’t have any...

Never mind, we’ll give it a go anyway...

I really didn’t know how far it was from there but we took the chance and no police were around to scold us. The roads were plowed/packed-snow and our tires are in decent shape. I took it easy…really!

Finally we found the place and it really is an ideal sledding haven!!

In France, you can’t drive until you’re 18 and it costs a chunk of change to go through lessons to get your license (and your parents don’t have a 2nd car to lend you anyway). Put that all together and there aren’t a flock of teenagers where they can’t walk to or there isn’t public transportation. Dauvillers fits both those bills. While some of the dearest people in my life are teenagers (I was once too!), a whole bunch of them hangin’ out without the rest of their family doesn’t always make for the most family-friendly environment.

The sledding hill at Dauvillers before more folks came.

There's a smile under all that gear!The place was practically deserted at 1:30PM when we arrived and it had received much more snow than down in our lower elevations. Later in the afternoon there was a good crowd but it was all families. Lots of parents slip-sliding up the hill and helping their young children get into their plastic rockets and cheering their wild rides and snowy crashes. It was a wonderful atmosphere! It was far enough up into the hills that you really had a “mountain feel” but not so far that our little car couldn’t make it and not a horrible drive either.

Noah wishes for a chair lift!Sharing one sled was probably not the most fun, but it allowed me to rest while Noah took his turn, after trudging up the hill in deep snow. The deep snow made a great lounge chair as well while waiting your turn! As more people came, Noah and I “pioneered” some new sled runs in the fresh snow (I’m a good snow plow at my size). Later we had fun watching others families use our “custom runs”. Finally, the occasional snow-leaks in our “armor” got Noah cold enough that he was done, but not before we’d had a bunch of fun and discovered a really cool, free, easy-to-get-to, family sledding hill.

I’m ready to go back!




Important links – our family web site – my wife’s French Sunday School blog – our church in France – our house of prayer (HOP) in France – My web development freelance business
My CV/Resume in English (PDF)